This week’s mix of news, gossip and hate:
The release of Bioshock, (you’ve tried it by now, right) looks to be the kickoff of what is already a murderers row of AAA releases. Well, add one more A-list name to the guest list. Mass Effect, which is probably one of the few, if only, games that could come close to topping Bioshock as Game of the Year, (and if someone seriously suggests Halo 3, I will lose it*) now has the confirmed release date of November 20.
The addition of Mass Effect just adds to a completely star-studded fall. Last year, the Wii and PS3 lineups weren’t all that special (console launches, more often than not, lack many AAAs off the bat), but this holiday season, I have no clue how gamers will avoid a wallet cataclysm.
Just look at November 20: Mass Effect, Rock Band, Trauma Center: New Blood, and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. This will be the week after Mario Galaxy and WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2008 (shut-up, it’s a huge seller) hit the market. And two weeks later, a little title called Super Smash Bros. Brawl hits the street.
Forget about the "word-of-mouth" titles, which are going to get decimated, there are going to be some big-budget AAA games feeling the hammer this holiday season. With games ranging between $40 – $60 and the Rock Band set-up going for about $200, some very publicized title is in for a shitstorm. For once, I’m actually looking forward to the usual January/February game drought, just so I can catch-up.
The Worldwide Leader in Consoles
Well it finally happened. The Wii became the worldwide sale leader in console sales. While trailing the 360 in the U.S. by over 2.5 million consoles, because the Japanese view the 360 as some sort of Hello Kitty rapist, the Wii has been able to eclipse the 360, for the moment. With September 25 beginning to cast a dark cloud over all gaming, the Wii’s grasp on the number one slot may be short lived.
Lots of internet gossip this week.
My favorite rumor this week is that 360 repairs have slowed to a crawl. And why have they slowed to a crawl? In addition to increased play, gamers, rather than be without their precious 360 for Halo 3 for two seconds, are sending in consoles at the first sign of trouble (whether it be a screen freeze, sound hiccup or just looking at them weird). There nothing like a product that instills that sort of confidence to its neurotic consumers.
This year saw the progression of mobile phone gaming, including the release of a few Final Fantasy titles and God of War: Betrayal, which shockingly hasn’t caused phones to explode from overloading.
Last week, when asked about the long rumored Playstation Phone, Sony Ericsson’s Peter Ahnegard mentioned that “it’s obviously something that we’re looking at but right now I can’t really comment. Before Christmas, certainly… but exactly which Christmas I can’t confirm!”
That, of course, set some people into euphoria anticipating a Christmas 2007 release (there’s a better chance of NBC picking up Gold Case) and the requisite N-Gage pessimism.
Frankly, I have no clue if there a Playstation Phone would be successful. While I’ve spent a lunchtime or two playing Brickbreaker on my Blackberry, I have no real desire to play anything of substance on my phone. Of course, I thought I’d never own a Xbox, or a 360, or a PS3, or a DS, or a Gameboy Micro . . .oh, fuck it. Does Verizon take pre-orders?
Another “rumor” floating around is that Gamestop plans to up its pre-order “deposit” from $5 to $10. I don’t see why they wouldn’t, I have at least $50 floating around in store accounts in New Jersey, Ann Arbor and Maricopa County. Add in the mountain of interest these “deposits” bring in and that we’re such suckers that we’ll pay the ten fucking dollars, this "rumor" should be placed in the “inevitable” file.
E for Empty
In the wake of the E3 scale down, fanboys have clamored for another chance to smell bad, dress weird, eat shitty food, push and shove to get some worthless shit and ogle women they have no chance with, while trying out a few games.
One potential venue for such a glorious display of human nature, was the E for All Expo (which doesn’t make any sense) this October. This week, however, Sony and Microsoft declined invites and EA removed advertising from the Expo’s homepage, adding to speculation that the publisher was pulling out of the show (the EA’s pull-out has been denied by the IDG World Expo, the event planners).
While Nintendo is confirmed to appear, representatives for the Expo have been in massive spin control this week, stating that there are still multiple exhibitors confirmed to appear and Sony and Microsoft’s non-attendance with not ruin the show. Yes, because 40 kiosks of Barbie Island Princess is going to bring in the crowds.
Bioshock the Monkey
Bioshock mastermind Ken Levine gave an interview to Joystiq, where he gave very honest and apologetic answers to questions regarding the game’s widescreen and copy-protection issues. Instead of that mature response, I wish that he had responded by saying, "I give you a masterpiece and in return I get this bullshit? Questions about fucking widescreen," followed by him going Sander Cohen on someone. Alas, he didn’t, but we can always dream.
That’s all for now.
* Don’t get me wrong, I have already purchased my copy of Halo 3, but beyond going multiplayer with some friends, I really couldn’t care less about the game (boring), its devotees and the tons of press that will surround the game.